“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13).
Our Savior, Jesus Christ has finished His work of redemption. Verse two of the Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” describes results of His victory. Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy.
“By Him were all things created” (Colossians 1:16), and “by Him all things consist” (v.17). But His creation, in Adam, had rejected His reign, and come under the penalty of that wrong choice. Thus the entire creation “was made subject to vanity” and is under “the bondage of corruption.” Indeed, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain” (Romans 8:20,21,22), and does not yet experience its full “joy.”
In Genesis 3 we read of the universal penalty for sin. Plants were cursed with “thorns and thistles” (v.18). The animals were cursed, with the serpent. “Cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field” (v.14). Eve was cursed with sorrow and difficulty in childbirth (v.16). Adam was cursed with expulsion from Eden, and a life of sorrow and toil (v.17,19,23). Even the very “ground” was cursed for his sake (v.17). Everything is in an irreversible cycle of deterioration and death.
Yet the prophet Isaiah tells us of a time when “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. (35:1,2).
Christ’s first advent gained this victory, but it has not yet been fully realized. This speaks of His second, still future, advent. Then there will be “Joy to the World.” JDM